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Online Surveys as a Vital Component of Healthcare
Not all healthcare workers or hospitals are created equally. Not all hospitals or healthcare workers were trained equally or have equal amounts of customer satisfaction experience. Maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction is one way to see that your hospital, clinic, or other medical facility is treating patients the way that they should be treated and spoken to by medical professionals.

Like many factors in life, the general feeling around healthcare and healthcare workers are nuanced. Many people worship the ground that doctors and other healthcare workers walk on because of the time that they have devoted to medicine and the advancements they have created for the benefit of society. Others may be warier. For some, it may be because they doubt the efficacy of certain medical advancements. For others, it may be because of a bad experience with a healthcare worker or hospital. Maybe they've had consistently long wait times even after making an appointment. Whatever the reason, it is vital that healthcare providers and organizations have this information so that they have the ability to improve the experience for all of their patients.


How does a healthcare provider or organization gather that kind of information?

Asking questions. Directly asking the individual receiving the care how they felt about their experience is a way for healthcare providers and hospitals to receive the kind of feedback that is vital for improvement and making their organization a better place for all who enter. Receiving constructive feedback is necessary for any organization, business, individual, or group of individuals to improve and become a better version of whatever they are attempting to be. And when an individual's health is on the line - being the best version of yourself is a non-negotiable.

So, asking honest questions and receiving honest answers is the best way for healthcare to improve and in turn provide patients with the best healthcare possible. How can a hospital or clinic dispense those questions and receive the answers they need? One major and consistent complaint from patients is the long wait time at hospitals. Brief questionnaires can be added to the information forms a patient must fill out before they leave, but an extensive survey may just add to the wait time that patients are already regularly experiencing. Sending a paper home with patients for them to fill out later and then eventually return may not be an adequate return on investment. Having to physically return something will deter most patients from attempting to fill out the form at all. Online surveys may just be the answer.

Many consumers receive online surveys from a wide variety different fields or businesses. They are usually sent through email and the information is put into the survey and then sent back to the organization. What if hospitals and clinics sent a patient satisfaction and experience survey after every single appointment? Many hospitals and clinics have surely already implemented improvement attempts like this, but to improve national healthcare, it could be implemented into every hospital or clinic that currently receives patients.

After every appointment? That may seem like a lot of information for already overworked healthcare workers to add to their job, but with online surveys, there does not have to be manual data entry added to the workload of an employee. With online survey systems, the survey is sent, filled out, and then the information is added to the collective database where the information from all the answered surveys is stored. No manual data entry for tired nurses.

This information can be easily discussed and looked at during healthcare staff meetings or gatherings held by hospital administrators and other executive staff. When a patient has the opportunity to fill out a survey like this, they put in the information regarding their experience, the responses are recorded in a database, and then the database relays the information to the people who need to see it. While not in-person contact, this information can still be relayed efficiently and reliably.


Online Surveys Make up For Miscommunication and Rushed Conversations

And while in person communication is usually the best, most personal option, there is not always time for an in depth conversation during or after a clinic appointment or discussion with your pharmacist. Or some individuals may not think of everything they need to say when they are in a room with a healthcare provider. This easily forgotten information can be comments about how their check-in experience was or it could be a semi-important piece of health information that they would like the doctor or other healthcare provider to know about them. Sometimes, during these appointments it can be difficult to remember every piece of information we need to provide our doctor with. Having an online survey sent out after appointments asking about how the experience at the clinic was or if the patient has any health information that they would like to add to their file can help alleviate this problem. Occasionally, information about our health that we believe to be insignificant can actually play a large part in our health plan. It's best to provide healthcare workers with all of the information available, whether in person or through an online survey or form, and let them decide what is actually insignificant.

Online surveys can be used to provide your physician with every piece of information that they need to help give you the healthcare plan you deserve, but they are also efficiently used to provide beneficial information about the healthcare providers and the experience patients have interacting with them and the hospital or clinic. No matter what field of healthcare you work in, these types of surveys help you and your organization become the best it can be. Whether you work in pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, surgery, internal care, or you work on the administrative healthcare side, these surveys provide valuable information. Occasionally, they may seem critical, but honest opinions are what helps us to improve.

The type of questions that you ask will vary depending on the type of service you provide. If this survey is being use to provide supplemental healthcare information, the questions will be geared toward the patient. If the questions are to give feedback about the experience the patient had at the hospital, clinic, or pharmacy, the questions will be phrased to allow the patient to express things they like about their experience and factors they may not have enjoyed as much.

Here are a three question categories with question examples listed beneath:

General Health Questions

When new patients arrive at a clinic or hospital, they usually receive some sort of survey to give the healthcare facility and the physician as much information as possible about their past, current, and future health history. These forms are usually given out before appointments to fill out in the lobby. Many hospitals or clinics now request that you fill out these forms online beforehand, so that they have more time to prepare for the appointment. This also gives the staff less basic data entry to complete and streamlines the healthcare process. Many hospitals now also provide these surveys on iPads or other small devices to be filled out in the lobby instead of the usual forms of the past.

Having a broad picture and complete understanding of a patient and their health history can save their life. Whether for surgical or medication purposes, a doctor needs to be aware of as much about the patient as possible to provide the highest level of care. These forms and surveys are vital to the healthcare system.

1.Based on your life and how you currently feel, how healthy would you consider yourself on a scale of 1 to 10?

2.How healthy do you think a physician would consider you on a scale of 1 to 10?

3.How often do you go to the doctor for a check-up?

4.When was your last check-up?

5.How was your health at your last check-up?

6.What do you have to say about your overall health?

7.Do you have any chronic diseases we should know about?

8.Do you have any hereditary conditions/diseases?

9.How often or regularly do you consume alcohol?

10.How often do you consume drugs, recreational or otherwise?

11.How often do you feel anxious or nervous?

12.If you often feel anxious or nervous, how many years have those feelings occurred?

13.How often do you feel depressed or hopeless?

14.If you have those feelings, how many years or months have you been experiencing them?

15.Do you go through periods of time where you have little interest in life or experiences?

16.How would you rate your health and teeth on a scale of 1-10?

17.Are you currently taking any medications?

18.How long have you been taking those medications?

19.Have you ever had surgery?

20.Do you have trouble remembering how to use them or following directions for medication use?

21.How often would you say you participate in strenuous exercise?

22.How often would you say you participate in easy to moderate exercise?

23.Have you ever been pregnant?

24.Is there anything else you would like us to know about your health?


Hospital/Clinic/Physician/Healthcare Staff

Not all hospitals, clinics, physicians, or healthcare staff are made equal. Forms about the healthcare experience after an appointment or interaction at a healthcare facility are not as common, but can be paramount to the maintenance of a high-quality facility.

25.How would you rate the assessment and diagnosis process that you experienced with the physician and hospital staff?

26.Have you experienced what you would consider to be better care at another hospital or clinic in the area?

27.If so, what was about that healthcare experience that you liked better?

28.How would you rate your experience with our physicians?

29.How would you rate your experience with the rest of the healthcare staff?

30.How would you rate your experience with our facilities?

31.Would you say it was simple to call and make an appointment?

32.What method did you use to make an appointment? (Phone, online, etc)

33.Was the provider and rest of the healthcare staff on time for your appointment?

34.Do you feel as though the provider truly listened to your health concerns?

35.Did the provider take the time to give you adequate answers to your questions?

36.Did the provider take time to explain your plan of care? (Changes to routine, follow-up appointments, medications etc.)

37.Was our facility clean when you arrived?

38.How likely are you to recommend our facility to your friends and family?


Pharmacy

Pharmacists and assistants are healthcare workers too. They have the responsibility of making sure patients receive the correct prescriptions and medicines. They have to make sure the patient is receiving the correct amount for the correct amount of time. Pharmacists also carry partial responsibility for making sure the individual knows how to use the medication correctly. Typically when a patient picks up a prescription, they have to sign off and say that either they refused prescription instructions from the pharmacist or that the pharmacist took the time to explain the use of the medication to them. Misuse of medication or incorrect dosage of medication is a huge cause of many medical malpractice cases and the liability of these falls on the Pharmacist. Making sure all healthcare workers are serving their patients with the utmost respect and accuracy falls on pharmacists as well as doctors.


39.Did the pharmacy staff or pharmacist charge you what you were told would be the deductible?

40.Did the pharmacist take the time to explain your medications, how often to use them, and when to stop?

41.How accommodating was the pharmacy staff?

42.Did the pharmacy have the medication you needed?

43.If not, how long did it take for you to receive your medication?


These questions are just examples and may not be relevant to your organization. If you work in a hospital, clinic, or pharmacy, many of these probably will suffice for your situation, but others may need to be adapted to the information you want to receive. All in all, these surveys are all about receiving honest answers that help your organization improve the experience of the patients and individuals you serve. Use whatever questions you feel will give you the answers you need to succeed.

About the author:

Megan Rich is an educator and writer with almost a decade of experience teaching children both in a traditional in person classroom environment and virtual classrooms online. Through writing and education, she aims to give companies and individuals the right words to use to express themselves and the message they want the world to hear.

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